TAPInto Westfield: Dawn Mackey: Grace Under Fire

tapintologo-2.pngBy CHERYL ALTMAN
November 5, 2017 at 2:05 PM

I met Dawn Mackey at a community event and was immediately impressed by her openness and “spunky” attitude. Right away, she had the familiarity and warmth of an old friend. Neighbors are naturally drawn to Dawn’s friendly demeanor. The more time I spend with her, the more impressed I am with her intelligence, her breadth of knowledge of small businesses, the complexities of our town budget, and the inner workings of Westfield’s government.

Many of us went to support her at the town forum on Oct. 24, where we all saw Dawn Mackey at her best. Under an unprovoked (and I believe, unwarranted) personal attack by her opponent, Dawn completely rose to the occasion and defended herself with grace and poise. Ironically, his comments were in response to how he would deal with members of opposing parties. Dawn politely and calmly steered the conversation to highlight some of the positive advocacy work she does in Trenton on behalf of children. Once again, she showed us what we will get in Dawn Mackey for Town Council: a professional who’s working for Westfield, who we can all be proud to have on our side.

TAPinto Westfield: We Need Dawn Mackey for Ward 4

tapintologo-2.pngBy SALLY COHEN-ALAMENO
November 3, 2017 at 1:26 PM

I love living in Westfield. We moved here almost 21 years ago for the same reasons we all do, to raise our children in a strong, vibrant community. Back in the late 90s Hazel Avenue was considered a "starter" neighborhood — five years in and then on to a bigger house. We had found a warm, loving community on our block, especially after 9/11, and there was no way I was moving off Hazel. We added on some more space, and eventually became old timers on our street.

So, I was so excited when a new family was moving in across the street! They were moving from the north side, there were 8-year-old twins, and apparently they all had red hair! Dawn Mackey soon invited me over for tea and some of her famous baked goods. I'm pretty sure I was the one who was supposed to invite HER over! We became instant friends.

The Mackeys have become an integral part of our neighborhood. Dawn walks her dog (who also has red hair) and talks to everyone. She is friendly, engaging and absolutely smart as a whip. We call her the "chronic volunteer;" she's off to PAL football, fundraising for cheerleading, participating in the Syrian refugee program at Temple Emanu-El. She works full time as a NYC commercial title examiner, part time at Weight Watchers and owns an event-planning business. She also makes outrageous themed cakes! She exhausts me.

Few people know that Dawn opened up her home to a friend of her older son's who was removed from his home by the Department of Youth and Family Services. She has helped out numerous friends in her quiet way, and seeks no acclaim or thanks; it's just who she is. She jumps in when she sees a problem and works hard to find answers. She is the real deal.

Now Dawn is running for town council in Ward 4. Her experience at work with municipalities will serve her well. She is well known and loved in this community, from working at Trader Joe's to her volunteer work with all of her children's activities. She wants to represent our 4th Ward neighbors and bring some common sense solutions to the issues facing Westfield today. I cannot recommend her more highly.

TAPinto Westfield: I Support Dawn Mackey for Ward 4

tapintologo-2.pngBy MANUELA DRAGAN
October 31, 2017 at 12:00 PM

I am honored to go on record as endorsing Dawn Mackey for the town council ward 4 position. Beyond a doubt, Dawn is the most qualified candidate and brings a progressive vision and platform to her candidacy. As a professional, entrepreneur, mother and now a political candidate, Dawn has done it all. In all she does, Dawn exemplifies honesty, fairness, and thoughtfulness. Dawn will use these qualities to bring a much-needed change to our town.

As a woman and mother, I could not be prouder to witness Dawn’s high level of engagement and the energy she deployed during her campaign, motivated by core principles that would better serve the growth and aspirations of our children and help promote commerce growth and fair business practices in Westfield.

Over these past months, I had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the perspectives and agendas of the various candidates. Dawn’s honest, pragmatic, and hopeful insight into our community's problems and needs, and her willingness to examine the issues and listen closely to the public's questions and concerns, sets her apart. I am therefore keen to express my support for her campaign and my intention both to vote and to spread word to others of the value of her policies and abilities.

Dawn is a long-time resident of Westfield and is very well respected in the community. I witnessed Dawn tirelessly and selfless serving long hours as volunteer in school, community, and sports activities. I acquired respect and admiration for her generosity, intelligence, and dedication to a good cause.

With proud enthusiasm, I support Down Mackey as our Ward 4 Town Council candidate.

Manuela Dragan

Senior Vice President – Financial Services

TAPInto Westfield: Vote for Dawn Mackey

tapintologo-2.pngBy MARGE ROMANO
October 23, 2017 at 7:09 PM
Dear Editor:

I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn Mackey at work about 10 years ago. The same day she started a new job, she was also making arrangements to take in a foster child — her son’s friend. Anyone who knows or meets Dawn immediately recognizes her willingness (and even more importantly, her eagerness) to make a difference. She steps up to the plate whenever and wherever needed.

Working together at Weight Watchers, we started a task force to motivate and inspire Westfield residents to believe in their own power to make changes in their lives to live a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Dawn took the initiative to tap into our community and connect businesses with our endeavor. This initiative was so successful that it was rolled out nationally. Dawn is a doer, a connector, someone who “rolls up her sleeves.”

If you want a job done professionally, Dawn is the person to do it. Dawn creates a sense of community wherever she goes. She is extremely driven and a great team player, whether she is in a leadership role or getting the details taken care of. Dawn is an effective communicator and a natural born leader. In order to lead, one must be a good listener. Dawn has that gift to listen and to be inclusive, respecting different perspectives and incorporating best ideas for the community. Dawn is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. She is “people connected.” She will listen, think out of the box and be a strong voice and a breath of fresh air for Ward 4.

I urge you to cast your vote for Dawn Mackey for Westfield Town Council on Nov. 7.

TAPinto Westfield: Former Councilman Endorses Dawn Mackey for Town Council

tapintologo-2.pngBy THOMAS BIGOSINSKI
October 30, 2017 at 11:52 AM

I write this letter to endorse Dawn Mackey for 4th Ward Town Council. I recently attended the mayoral and town council debates and am thrilled that Westfield has such bright, skilled and devoted neighbors interested in volunteering for the good of their community. One of the greatest experiences of my life was serving on the town council representing the 4th Ward between 2006 and 2009, and I wish all the candidates well.

Unfortunately, while all other candidates conducted themselves with impeccable character and demonstrated profound respect for their opponents, the debate was marred by ugly and debasing barbs and insults directed by 4th Ward Councilman Keith Loughlin inexplicably towards his opponent, Dawn Mackey. Specifically, Mr. Loughlin stated outright that Ms. Mackey’s only interest in serving on the town council was so she could pave her own street. Westfield is and has always been a town where civility rules, and disagreements are resolved through engagement, not insults. Ms. Mackey (and all of the candidates) should be praised for aspiring to serve on town council, not demeaned with baseless accusations. Ms. Mackey conducted herself, as she always does, with the class and integrity that suits the office she is seeking. Mr. Loughlin’s bewildering personal attacks have no place in the Westfield Town Chamber.

I encourage all 4th Ward residents to vote for Dawn Mackey. I have proudly served on the town council and know that she has the experience, intellect, demeanor and good judgment to serve the town best. She has impressive work, volunteer and life experiences, has raised three children who have passed through McKinley, Edison and Westfield High School, and has been a vibrant and eager volunteer in countless community activities. We need to ensure that town council conducts its business in a civil manner. Dawn Mackey will fight tirelessly for the 4th Ward while never forgetting that, at the end of the day, we are all neighbors and friends.


Thomas Bigosinski

4th Ward Councilman (2006-2009)

TAPinto Westfield: Mackey is Who We Need in Ward 4

tapintologo-2.pngBy ASHLEY PAGELOW
October 27, 2017 at 1:44 PM

To the editor:

I am writing to formally endorse Dawn Mackey for Town Council in Ward 4. After a tumultuous national election cycle, I had initially decided to throw my hat in the ring and run for office in Westfield. I have two young children, which made the prospect of running a campaign a daunting one. However, I felt it was important to step forward to run, as too often in Westfield, seats have gone uncontested. I was conflicted, but I didn’t know of other candidates. At the time, I asked myself, “if not me, then who?” Before long, I was introduced to Dawn and realized that she was that “who.” I gladly stepped aside and concentrated my efforts on supporting Dawn’s campaign.

I met Dawn in person at a campaign kickoff get-together at a neighbor’s house. I was immediately impressed. Dawn had been civically engaged for many years through community and volunteer efforts here in Westfield, and before that in Hoboken. This past May, after learning that a grant was available for replanting trees that were lost in Hurricane Sandy, Dawn took the initiative by contacting her neighbors who had lost trees on their properties. Grant funds were used to plant trees by these homes. This is just one example of Dawn’s innate sense of community and her willingness to reach out to share her knowledge for everyone’s benefit. Dawn is a deeply caring person — someone who will openly share her own thoughts, but who is also receptive to the opinion of others.

Over the years, Dawn has worn many hats and is able to draw upon her experiences as a title examiner, a small business owner, a parent and a neighbor to understand our community’s needs and develop solutions to meet those needs. What most impresses me most about Dawn is her boundless energy, openness, generosity of spirit and willingness to reach across the aisle to engage residents and even candidates from the opposing party. More than once I have seen Dawn introduce herself to candidates or constituents who seemed to be avoiding eye contact with her. When I asked her why, she simply stated that once the election is over, we will still be neighbors and will have to work together. I could not be more excited to vote for Dawn. I urge you to meet her; I am sure you will feel the same. Dawn is the answer to the question of who we need to make Westfield the best that it can be.

Ashley Pagelow

TAPinto Westfield: 'What is Shelley Brindle Like to Work With?'

tapintologo-2.pngWestfield friends and neighbors,

Running for local office is a new experience for me. There have been many surprises along the way.

As an entrenched member of our community I am used to (and love) running into residents all over town. The greetings have shifted from “Will I see you at the game?” and “How are the twins?” to “What will you guys do about downtown?” and “How is Shelley to work with?”

Most recently, during a routine dermatologist appointment, I was reminded once again how exposed we are as candidates when, during the exam, my doctor inquired about Shelley Brindle. It made me realize that when I see people, they want to hear my personal opinion on our mayoral candidate. It made me decide to write this letter, for anyone who may be wondering what my thoughts are.

You may not know that I had never met Shelley until we both declared our interest in running for office. As a longstanding supporter of the Washington School Show, I was familiar with Shelley’s husband Kip, who often took on memorable roles in the shows. He was, and is, a hometown celebrity.

I read Shelley’s bio, and – let’s face it – it’s impressive. And perhaps, to some, even intimidating. But still, I didn’t KNOW her. Then we spent some time together, sitting in a room, all five candidates, discussing our reasons for running and what we hoped we could accomplish. In that moment, I knew I was in the right place, at the right time. We had five people in who were in agreement — We all loved Westfield. We all saw similar areas that needed attention, and we all wanted to be a part of the solution

It took months for us all to really get to know each other. Each of us with school-aged children, jobs and the task of trying to establish ourselves as candidates. During the days I canvassed with Shelley, I learned more about her as a person. Every time, Shelley would ask, “How is your family holding up?”

I’ve watched Shelley engage local business owners and community members. I’ve watched her actively seek the expertise of industry leaders, and consult with numerous mayors of thriving neighboring towns. Shelley seeks knowledge, answers and a path to the vision Westfield needs. I am privy to how tirelessly she is working behind the scenes, and how accessible she is to team members and interns. I know her commitment, sacrifice and dedication to our town.

Someone asked me once about Shelley’s ego. And that startled me, because it isn’t anything I’ve had to consider in my time working alongside her. This woman walked away from a very public career, at the pinnacle of her success. She mentored and cultivated a succession plan, as visionary and confident leaders do. She has the credentials to do almost anything she wants with her “second chapter,” as she calls it, and has chosen to devote herself to public service. That is to me equally as impressive as her outstanding professional achievements

Back to the question I started with: “How is Shelley to work with?” She is strong. Sometimes tough. Always fair. She is quick, smart and funny. Self-deprecating, inclusive and inspirational. Her passion, her forward thinking and unquestionable leadership make me very enthusiastic about this election.

As a Ward 4 council candidate I am honored to share the ticket with Shelley Brindle. As a Westfield resident, I am excited to vote for her. If you haven’t had the chance to meet her in person, please watch her video. I am certain that once you hear her vision for Westfield and her plan to execute that vision, you will share my enthusiasm.

Dawn Mackey

Westfield resident

Ward 4 council candidate

TAPinto Westfield: Even More of a Positive Impact

tapintologo-2.pngBy DANIEL R. ENGORON
October 28, 2017 at 4:59 PM

To the Editor:

I am thrilled to be able to lend my support to 4th Ward resident Dawn Mackey for a seat on Westfield’s town council.

Dawn is a brilliant, tireless worker on behalf of her constituency, and she gets things done. Quickly. Collaboratively. Innovatively. I know because we have been colleagues for more than 20 years.

I am a vice president at a major title insurance company that focuses on commercial real estate transactions, and Dawn has been both an outstanding co-worker and a terrific advocate for our workers.

One example: When our profession was threatened with job losses from a transformative online system, it was Dawn who took the lead in making sure that civic leaders addressed worker concerns. She created a professional association, took measure of the disparate views and answers of its members and made a remarkably cogent presentation to elected and appointed government officials. It had a tremendous impact on everyone there. That’s Dawn: make a team, build consensus and speak to decision makers.

Dawn is also the consummate volunteer. It’s no surprise to me that she can be found chairing school committees during the week, selling pretzels at flag football games on weekends, and collecting for coat and food drives on any given day. That spirit of serving and giving back to her adored Westfield is an important component of who Dawn is as a 4th Ward resident. And she accomplishes all this while raising her kids, having a career as a commercial title examiner, and owning and running a local business (which informs her daily regarding the needs of small businesses).

It should be noted that, at a time of national flux, Dawn is answering the call for local citizens to stand up and serve. In this way, she can make even more of a positive impact. It is said that all politics is local, and Dawn knows what Westfield residents want: filling downtown storefronts with vibrant businesses; keeping property taxes fair and affordable; maintaining top schools and parks; making downtown parking easier and less punitive; expanding one-seat rides to Penn Station New York; and, yes, expediting the paving of roads.

The issues are the same in the town where I live. The difference is that you have Dawn with her amazing energy and ideas to move these quality of life matters forward. On Nov. 7, take advantage of this tremendous opportunity: Vote Dawn Mackey for 4th ward town council member.

Daniel R. Engoron

East Hills, NY

Westfield Leader: South Side Businesses

WESTFIELDLEADERLOGO1000PX.pngFor the past six months, I have had the privilege of meeting many of my Fourth W ard neighbors, either while knocking on doors canvassing, or during our many meet and greets. During my conversa- tions with these residents, consistent con- cerns regarding the perceived neglect of the south side business district were brought to my attention. Concerns such as: Why is our south side so shabby? Why can’t we have a great north side and a great south side? Why don’t south side businesses seem to get the same support as north side businesses?

Indeed? These are valid questions. Many south side businesses mirror these con- cerns and express frustration, feel “ig- nored” and like “second-class citizens” compared to their north side counterparts.

As a resident and a candidate, I firmly believe a thriving south side is essential to a thriving north side. W estfield’ s down- town area should encompass the entire business district. If evidence is needed, one only needs to look as far as Cranford’ s south side for a well-executed example. Anchored by Starbucks and Pastosa, South Avenue in Cranford has become a “destination location,” not just for Cranford residents but for people living in other towns, including Westfield.

In fact, many of our own 4th Ward families have confided in me that on the weekends they head straight to Cranford for the restaurant selection, the vibe and the easier parking. With half of Westfield’s homes situated on the south side, as well as the high school and numerous sports fields, there is an abundance of potential for success if intelligently developed.

I vigorously support the creation of a new master plan for W estfield’ s down- town. Shelly Brindle and I agree – a robust south side is essential to the rejuvenation of the north side. As your councilwoman I will work passionately to advocate for a plan that addresses the core problems plaguing our downtown today while re- imagining a vision for our south side.

Dawn Mackey Candidate for Westfield Ward 4

Westfield Leader: As A Small Business Owner Myself

WESTFIELDLEADERLOGO1000PX.pngTwo weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Aisha Hale at a meet and greet. Aisha was warm and a little shy. It took her an hour to mention to me that she had just opened a busi- ness in Westfield, located on the traf- fic circle. It’s an eco-friendly beauty salon called “Dirt,” which offers chemical-free manicures, pedicures and other services. Knowing so many friends and neighbors to be holistic minded, I immediately wanted to in- troduce Aisha to Westfield. We de- cided on the spot to host a meet and greet at her location.

It was a natural choice to partner with Amanda from Fettle and Fare – a little gem serving up organic offer- ings, located in the old Dominos lo- cation on West Broad Street. Further enhancing the experience, special- ties like scones and cucumber-mint sandwiches were to be featured by Mullberry House, a tea shop on Westfield Avenue.

Highlighting these three South Side businesses on one lovely evening, we invited the public to mingle and sample products. 

As an active member in our com- munity and a small business owner myself, it is always my instinct to connect local businesses to the par- ticular residents they would appeal to. During my employment at Trader Joe’s, I wrote a proposal coordinat- ing tours with the local South Avenue Weight Watchers. This was an initia- tive long sought by both companies, and I was thrilled to pair my Trader Joe’s product knowledge with my program knowledge to bring this idea to fruition. It was exciting for me to serve our community by enhancing Weight Watchers members’ success on plan, while at the same time intro- ducing a new customer base to Trader Joe’s.

During my years there, I coordi- nated events with local clothing shops to host fashion shows, held book signings with local cookbook author Susan Greeley and invited Savory Spice of East Broad Street to speak directly to members and bring samples to the center.

My genuine involvement in the community provides an up close, per- sonal view into the needs and wants of our residents. As your candidate for Town Council, I see limitless pos- sibilities for promotion. It is how I’ve always approached Westfield as a citizen – hosting regular new busi- ness open houses, pairing two or three new businesses at a time and inviting the public – things that are good for the community at large. It welcomes the engagement of our residents to actively participate in the success of our local entrepreneurs. I would en- thusiastically work with the commu- nity, local businesses and the Down- town Westfield Corporation to cross- promote business and create a culture of collaboration.

For these reasons, I ask for your vote on November 7 to represent the 4th Ward on the Westfield Town Council.

Dawn Mackey Candidate For W4 Westfield Council